Midwest Airlines cuts 40% of workforce

Further adding to the speculation about the future of Midwest Airlines, the embattled airline today announced that it is cutting forty percent of its workforce via furloughs and layoffs. In light of the escalating fuel crisis, this cut follows the announcement that it will be grounding all of its MD-80 aircraft.

Sad news for a small airline that is struggling to make its mark in the ultra competitive and expensive market that currently is the airline industry. Will they make it through the oil surge?

Over the Fourth of July weekend my girlfriend flew Midwest through Kansas City and generally had good things to say about the airline. Seats are nice, leather and spacious while food and beverage is not only existent and free but also quite supple. Her main observation? “There are only like ten people on this flight.”

If, even over a holiday weekend, you can’t fill up your planes, then you either have a serious pricing or a serious consumer confidence problem. Why? Since many people have been hearing rumors about the airline going under, demand for tickets has probably gone down. What’s an airline to do to inspire confidence?

Well, you could always promise 100% refunds on your tickets if you liquidate. With so many people booking flights and losing their money on flops like Skybus and Maxjet, I think that the least they deserve is a guarantee that they’ll get their money back if you take the plunge.

Airline Seats: Feel Cramped? That’s Normal.

Once, when my husband and I were flying (before kids), I had a window seat and he had the middle. The man next to him in the aisle seat was as broad shouldered as my husband is. My husband wondered sweetly if I would mind switching with him. “Yes, yes I would,” I said. There was no way I wanted to be sandwiched in by shoulders. With the window curving out slightly, I had some room for one of my elbows.

According to the latest travel complaints, a small seat is becoming the number one cause for people’s unhappiness while they wing from one place to another.

Here’s what comfortable seats would look like:

  • A seat wide enough so you aren’t rubbing shoulders with the person next to you. 19-20 inches is adequate.
  • Lap-level workspace
  • A seat pitch that’s 35 to 36 inches. (The pitch is what gives you leg room and is determined by the front-to-back placement of seats.)

The reality:

  • Most airline seats are 17 to 18 inches.
  • Most seat pitch is 31 inches.

If you want wide seats, try Midwest Airlines.
The seat best pitch is on JetBlue airplanes.

For more details about where to find seat comfort, check Ed Perkin’s article, “Finding the Least Worst Coach Seats” at Tribune Media Services. Along with mentioning particular airlines, he tells which models are the most and least roomy. Also, at Skytrax you can view regions of the world, the airlines that fly to them and check out the pitches of the airplanes.